[UPDATE 19-JULY-2017] Google updated the 7.3 release with a new version 126.96.36.19930 that fixed a problem with the Linux version, and also fixed an HTTP request issue. The “advanced”
manual update release will roll out in a few hours they said. Right now that is still the 7.1 version.
Google has said that they temporarily removed the new 7.3 update due to a critical bug found shortly after being launched. I will update this post when the update is once again available and/or more details are released. If you try to go download now, you will get the latest 7.1 release instead. – Frank]
Google has updated the desktop version of Google Earth to 188.8.131.5227. Although there are no added features, it is a fairly significant update, including enhancements to the interface, graphics, internal browser and much more. See the release announcement for the full list of changes.
Google Earth Pro for all
Google is finally dropping the ‘basic’ version of Google Earth and upgrading everyone to Google Earth Pro. The update should be automatic if you have Google Earth or Google Earth Pro already installed and a recent operating system (the minimum requirements have been increased). Google has updated the Google Earth download site to promote the new web version and you must click on ‘older versions’ to find the desktop version.
Frank reports that he gets significantly better graphics in the new version due to better graphics settings being enabled by default. The release notes state that antialiasing and anisotropic filtering are now enabled by default and Google Earth also defaults to OpenGL mode (vs DirectX mode which was the previous default on Windows). It appears that the antialiasing option in the settings is only available in OpenGL mode although that might depend on the graphics card. Google also made changes to make it look better on higher res displays like Retina from Mac.
To learn more about antialiasing to how to get similar quality improvements in older versions of Google Earth, see this YouTube video Frank made in 2015.
We ran our browser tests KML file and found that the new version scores 338 on the HTML 5 test site. The previous version scored just 169 and in 2015 Google Earth was scoring 119. The latest version of Chrome scores 518.
One downside of the new browser is tightened security settings. For example, our KMLs for animating Landsat and Sentinel-2 imagery no longer work correctly when run locally. The solution is to run them via a network link – a trick that works even if the KML file is still stored locally.
A Repair Tool
A repair tool has been added that helps resolve common problems. It should show up automatically if you are having trouble opening Google Earth, or can be run manually from within Google Earth:
Help->Launch Repair Tool
Use the last option with care as it will delete all your saved places.